The little township of Franz Josef doesnt have much. There is one small market, 2 bars, and a couple of backpackers hostels. But this sleepy little two road town is home to one of the biggest tourist draws on New Zealand’s West Coast: The Franz Josef Glacier.
Glaciers are awesome, no matter where they are, but the Franz Josef Glacier (along with neighboring Fox Glacier) is unique in that it decends to just 240 meters above sea level, it is only 20k from the Tasman Sea, and it is surrounded by rainforrest.
Imagine being able to sunbathing on the beach, hike through lush rainforrest, and ice-climb on a glacier, all in the same day — and all these things within just a few kilometers of eachother.
Here is a video of a glacier hike that I did during my stay in Franz Josef.